If all your systems are integrated, they can all become interactions.
Now that Densitron has acquired IDS, look for vastly expanded automation control over broadcasting systems at IBC.
IDS (Intelligent Display Systems) is a network-based display and control system designed specifically for the broadcast industry that was originally devised as an alternative to the costly and clunky clocks/tally units that were often custom built into broadcast studios and live environments.
They recently completely overhauled the methods of operation in the UK’s Houses of Parliament, to raucous shouts of “Hear! Hear!”, although somehow nobody ever does.
Densitron is a global leader in Human Machine Interaction (HMI) as it relates to display technology, so when last July they announced they were acquiring IDS, Reuben Such, the global business development director for IDS said in a press release, “The synergy of the products and teams across the two organizations was apparent, so we are excited to accelerate growth in IDS now that we can enjoy the support of the wider Densitron organization.”
Of course, we will see the first fruits of this acquisition at the upcoming IBC convention in Amsterdam, but since this afforded me my first opportunity to speak with Densitron’s new managing director, Simon Jones, who took over the helm last April, I jumped at the chance for a 1:1 transatlantic interview.
“One of the challenges we look forward to overcome,” Jones started off, “is to bring mission critical technologies, such as our haptic controls, into the broadcast environment.”
Haptic controls give you touch feedback on flat touchscreen surfaces, which is why Densitron refers to HMI as “Human Machine Interaction” instead of the conventional “Interface”.
“The point is that IDS connects to everything, automates anything, and displays everywhere,” Jones said. “This means that in a broadcast environment, it allows the broadcasters to spend more time focused on the creative, and less time clicking buttons.”
Jones admitted to being a control gadget buff through the IoT (Internet of Things).
“But the problem I have when setting up a smart home, is that everything has its own operating application,” he said. “So I have one application for lighting, one application for door bells, etc. That means my mobile phone is jammed full with applications just to access the controls over devices I have at home. The same is true for a broadcast studio’s vastly more complicated compliment of equipment.”
He detailed the example of Ross servers, Grass Valley switchers, Blackmagic Design standards converters, Avid edit systems, Sony cameras, and Shotoku robotics, each with their own control surfaces and protocols.
“But IDS can communicate with all of them,” Jones said. “And once you have all of these systems integrated, you can start to build little macros that simplify pre-programmed routines. As a result, instead of having to manipulate a whole series of disparate controls, you can accomplish a complex task with one button.”
He was describing an automated workflow that could define the studio of the future.
And ultimately, this could make the broadcast process available to a far wider community of users.
“Say you are working with a social media video company,” he postulated. “One of their influencers could book time in an IDS-enabled studio and create a video blog post without being an expert in broadcasting. All they would have to know is the pre-set, given routine of commands.”
In addition, all the content created through this IDS-enabled system could be displayed at any end point throughout the system.
The IDS Remora R5 is a powerful processor that can deliver time critical content to display devices over your entire network.
Because of the IDS Remora mini-computer, any display can be a fully-synchronized end point showing the same thing on the system that anyone else can see.
“One quarter of Densitron’s business is already involved with broadcast,” Jones told me, “and what we’ll be showing at IBC 2019 is how the IDS acquisition will allow us to get even deeper into that market segment.”
This will include bespoke drivers for all of the equipment involved, taken from Densitron’s huge library of dedicated control software.
So expect to see the entire IDS automation system in the Densitron exhibit at IBC.
Or, as Jones put it, “Connects anything, controls everything, automates anything, and displays everywhere.”
Now, that’s something to look forward to in Amsterdam.
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